A blog by a dog who is an adorable and somewhat opinionated basenji.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
A DOG NAMED SNOOPY
Most everybody knows who Snoopy is, because he's a very famous dog who does lots of funny things. The only bad things about him are (1) he's not a real dog, and (2) he's a beagle and not a basenji. But besides that, Snoopy is pretty much the perfect dog.
Snoopy was invented by Charles Schulz, who spent many years drawing the Peanuts comic strip. Mr. Schulz was born in 1922 in Minneapolis and grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. When he was a kid, an uncle gave him the nickname "Sparky," because there was a horse named Spark Plug in the Barney Google comic strip. Sparky's family had a dog named Spike, and this dog ate strange things such as pins and tacks. Snoopy was based a little bit on Spike, except that Spike was a pointer and not a beagle, like Snoopy.
The first cartoon strip that Mr. Schulz drew was called Li'l Folks, and it was published from 1947 to 1950 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. After that, the United Feature Syndicate agreed to publish it starting October 2, 1950, with the name Peanuts.
Snoopy was a pretty ordinary dog in the beginning. At first it wasn't even clear whose dog he was, but then it turned out he belonged to Charlie Brown. Later in the strip, everyone found out that Snoopy was born at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, and he had 7 siblings. First he was owned by a little girl named Lila, but then her family had to move to an apartment where dogs weren't allowed. So they took Snoopy back to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. After that, Charlie Brown's parents bought Snoopy for him because some other kids had thrown sand in Charlie Brown's face.
For the first two years, Snoopy didn't say anything, but then on May 27, 1952, his thoughts began to show up in word balloons. At first, the thoughts were just one word at at time, such as "FOOD!" But as time went on, Snoopy started thinking more thoughts. Also he got to be more like a human than like a dog. He even started walking around on two legs!
Snoopy liked to pretend all sorts of things about himself. Sometimes he was a World War I pilot and other times he was Joe Cool or a lawyer, hockey player, figure skater, or the first dog to fly solo across the Atlantic. He was always writing novels that started with "It was a dark and stormy night." He mostly got rejection slips for his novels, but once he got one published. Except that nobody bought it.
Snoopy fell in love several times, but usually the girl dog he loved left him for a golden retriever. He loved root beer and pizza, playing the accordion, and being the shortstop on Charlie Brown's baseball team. He could do a very happy Snoopy Dance, and he could also whirl his ears around and fly like a helicopter.
The doghouse that Snoopy lived in had all kinds of things inside, like a carpeted foyer, a den, a library, a guest room, a stairway, a basement, a television, a bed, a pool table, and an original Van Gogh. But mostly, Snoopy spent all his time sitting or sleeping on top the doghouse, in all kinds of weather. I don't know why he did this, but I guess it made him happy.
Snoopy's best friend was Woodstock, who was a little yellow bird. Snoopy led a scout troop with Woodstock and some of his bird friends in it. Woodstock always talked like this: '''''''' but Snoopy could understand him because they were such good friends.
Spike was one of Snoopy's brothers, and he was in the comic strip more than Snoopy's other siblings. Spike lived in the desert and had saguaro cacti as friends. The area where Spike lived was a lot like Needles, California, where the Schulz family lived from 1928 to 1930.
There were lots and lots of movies and products made of Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. You can still buy this stuff and see the movies on TV, especially at Christmastime. But there are no more new Peanuts comic strips. This is because, sadly, Mr. Schulz had some small strokes, and he also had Parkinson's, which made it hard for him to draw. Then he got colon cancer, and it was spreading through his body. So on December 14, 1999, Mr. Schulz retired, even though he didn't want to.
On February 12, 2000, Charles Schulz died in his sleep of a heart attack, and the very next morning, the last Peanuts strip he ever drew was published. Mr. Schulz and his family had decided they didn't want anybody else to draw the comic strip, so that's why there are no new ones. But you can still read it in a lot of newspapers or online or in books. So in a way, Snoopy and all his friends never get old, and they always seem to be doing something new. Which is a very good thing, if you ask me.